How sponsorship kick is helping Port United
Visit Port Macquarie’s Tuffins Lane on a Saturday morning and it’s awash with the green, black and white of Port United’s youngest players enjoying the thrill of team sport. But it’s the club’s home ground where Sovereign Hills has been able to make a difference. We spoke with club secretary and registrar Gregg McDonald to see how the new Dixie Park grandstand, and the club, is performing this year.
Q: How is the 2018 Port United season playing out Gregg?
A: 2018 has Port United fielding over 800 players in 71 teams from 6s through to seniors.
It’s a massive job by a small but dedicated committee to get the players on the park for the season start and then to provide the support and behind the scenes work to keep it all flowing throughout the season. The highlight is getting it all together and having the players out on the park each week enjoying their football.
For a number of seasons, we’ve been spread across three locations for training and matches, including the traditional home ground Dixie Park for matches, Tuffins Lane for training and matches, and Wayne Richards Park for training and some Friday night games.
Port United’s Premier League squad progressed through to the sixth round of the National FFA Cup which is the furthest of any club from the Mid North Coast area. Under the guidance of coach Nathan Wade, the side defeated Wallamba, Wallis Lakes, Urunga (this was a thriller) and Demon Knights before going down to the semi-professional Lambton Jaffas from the National Premier League in Newcastle on the June long weekend. This was a great experience and achievement for the whole squad.
Q: How do Port United’s membership numbers compare with other Hastings sports?
A: Whilst we don’t have numbers for other sports, football (soccer) is by far the biggest participation sport on the Mid North Coast. All sports compete to a certain degree for players, but every sport provides for its participants an opportunity to get out and have fun with their sport of choice.
Q: How do events such as the FIFA World Cup inspire the next generation of players?
A: The World Cup is massive and hopefully all the young ones are being inspired as previous generations have been in the past. Thankfully the coverage issues were overcome and everyone now has the opportunity to watch as many games as possible with some viewer friendly times in the opening games.
The challenge we have is to convert all the players playing the game into real fans of the game and while only a very few make it to World Cup level we can still be a part of it as spectators every four years. We also have the Socceroos as current Asian Cup Champions which gives everyone the chance to follow and support them against the best in Asia.
Q: Has the new Dixie Park grandstand been an asset this season?
A: A huge thank you to Sovereign Hills for its sponsorship contribution to the new mini grandstand purchased and erected at Dixie Park, which has enhanced spectator viewing at the ground. This was a very welcome addition and has been well utilised by spectators throughout the season so far. Our thanks also go to CPG for its contribution erecting the project.
It’s been so popular the club is considering adding similar sized stands to further enhance viewing facilities at Dixie Park.
Q: Where else has the club been focusing its efforts?
A: Port United is always looking to improve the player experience, and while we have been doing this informally we are now looking to implement more coaching support and education with a number of new club coaching coordinators. We cover the cost of their coaching education course. If we can provide more education and support for our coaches that in turns helps provide a better experience for the players.
Q: How critical is the sponsorship and support of organisations such as Sovereign Hills to Port United and grassroots sport?
A: Sponsorship and support from Sovereign Hills and other organisations is absolutely critical to our club and I’m sure all sporting clubs. Without this support, we just wouldn’t be able to function and provide the opportunities to get the players on the park without a huge hike in fees which the players would have to pay. The sponsorships enable the club to keep fees as low as possible while still providing much needed equipment and operational costs.
Port United is extremely lucky to have sponsorship and support of Sovereign Hills, Poolzone, CPG, Bursons Auto Parts, McDonalds (Port Macquarie), Port Tree Fellas, Hastings Metal Mart, Sportspower, Tony Hill Consulting, Evolution Road Accountants, Eco KIds Village, BNJ Landscaping.
On behalf of the club’s committee we would like to thanks our team coaches and managers, our volunteers who look after the canteens and set up the fields each weekend, and anyone else who contributes to make Port United the successful club we are.
For more information about Port United, click here.